Kay Baumhefner’s Persimmon Pudding


Don and Kay Baumhefner are among our very best friends. He is a wine maker and she is a chef, one time restaurateur and writer. They live in Petaluma in a charming house with an enormous kitchen. We all have birthdays in the same part of the year so we have a great excuse to celebrate together, usually at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. In 2000, at a party at César’s, Kay produced this amazing persimmon pudding which has been a favourite ever since. It is now a regular part of any winter feasting and is always very popular with everyone.

3 cups white sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tb. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 Tb. vanilla extract
3 Tb. melted butter
3 cups pureed fully ripe hachiya persimmon pulp
butter and sugar for coating the pan
3-quart bundt pan and a lidded pot big enough to hold it with at least a 1″-high rack or trivet inside on the bottom.


1. Generously coat the inside of the bundt pan with soft butter and then sugar. Cut a piece of baking parchment and aluminum foil large enough to cover the top and extend several inches all around.
2. Add almost an inch of water to the pot and bring it to the boil later before you insert the pudding.
3. In a large mixing bowl stir all the dry ingredients toegther.
4. In another bowl beat together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Add them to the dry ingredients, stirring just to mix.
5. Stir in the melted butter and then the persimmon puree. Don’t overmix.
6. Pour into the bundt pan.
7. Cover with the parchment and then the aluminum foil; tie around with string to tightly secure.
8. Without tipping, insert in the pot to rest on the rack over (not in) boiling water. Cover tightly.
9. Leave the heat on high until steam starts escaping around the lid, then immediately reduce to simmer for about 2 hours or until the pudding has risen in the center and springs back when lightly pressed. It will be very moist but not soggy.
10. Remove to a cooling rack, take off the covers and let rest 15-30 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.
11. Serve warm or cooled.

NOTE: You can make the pudding days in advance, unmold, then butter and sugar the cleaned bundt pan to fit back over the completely cooled pudding; cover and store in a cool room. Then later reheat in the pot on the rack over boiling water for about 20 minutes.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 Tb. dark rum or Grand Marnier (optional)

1. In a heavy enameled or stainless steel saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar together.
2. Whisk the yolk and cream together, then whisk them into the butter-sugar saucepan and turn the heat down to low.
3. Simmer, watching carefully and whisking periodically, until the sauce is completely smooth and a little thicker. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle.
4. Take off the heat to stir in the vanilla and optional rum.
5. Serve warm. [Can cool and store in the fridge to gently reheat later.]

Nicholas McGegan